Following the 2008 financial crisis the United States began a form a capital controls to try to keep individuals, businesses, and trusts from moving their wealth offshore. And one of their primary controls is through a law known as FATCA, which gave the IRS a modicum of authority backed by SWIFT to find out all personal accounts and information held in foreign banks by American citizens.
But as we saw in the Panama Papers scandal earlier this year, what is meant as restrictions for 'little people' is barely a bump in the road for the elite and super wealthy who have access to alternatives that the 99% do not. And one of these alternatives is the ability to offshore their wealth into special private vaults that are outside the touch of the U.S. government, and which may hold thousands of tons of gold outside the banking system.
For decades, Switzerland had a reputation for bank secrecy that made it the most sought after tax haven for billionaires from around the globe. But, after more than 80 years of secrecy, a series of bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including America’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), have forced the private-banking industry in Switzerland to embrace an entirely new era of transparency that requires a full exchange of tax-relevant information with more than a hundred countries.
Which, as Bloomberg points out, has been a huge boon for Swiss operators of private vaults which are not subject to the same transparency and reporting requirements as banks. In fact, these super-secret, privately operated storage facilities buried around the Swiss Alps can basically store anything from anybody because they're not even required to report suspicious activity to Switzerland's Money Laundering Reporting Office.
“There is growth in gold,” Wipfli says. “Since 2008 there has been a real interest in alternatives to bank deposits.” The company explicitly taps into that demand. Swiss Data Safe “is independent from the banking system and any other organization or interest group,” according to a PowerPoint presentation Wipfli shows clients. The company and its anonymous rival aren’t regulated by the Swiss financial-services regulator Finma.
Nor do such companies have to report suspicious activity to Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office.In the past, submissions to the agency have led the Swiss attorney general to open investigations into corruption at FIFA, the global soccer body, and banking ties to Brazil’s Petrobras bribery scandal.
Moreover, American citizens aren’t required under FATCA to declare gold stored outside of financial institutions either. So perhaps it's no surprise that, according to the Swiss defense department, of the roughly 1,000 former military bunkers still in existence across Switzerland, several hundred of them have been sold to private individuals who are now operating them as private storage sites for the gold stash of the world's wealthiest of billionaires. - Zerohedge